More than 1 million chickens die in Indiana egg farm fire

An official says more than a million chickens died in a fire that destroyed several large barns at a northern Indiana egg-producing facility.

Crews responded late Monday to the fire at Hi-Grade Egg Producers near the Wabash County city of North Manchester. No people were injured.

Hi-Grade is a 36-year-old business operated by Mentone, Indiana-based Midwest Poultry Services LP, one of the country's 10 largest egg producers.

"To have over a million birds die in a fire that we were unable to prevent is just unacceptable to us," Midwest Poultry Services President Bob Krouse told Fort Wayne-based WPTA-TV. He said the business plans to rebuild.

The complex housed about 2.7 million chickens, WANE-TV reported.

Winds helped spread the fire to multiple barns before it was brought under control early Tuesday. Officials say firefighters from 22 departments responded to the scene about 30 miles west of Fort Wayne and 100 miles north of Indianapolis. The cause is under investigation.

Indiana is the nation's second largest state for egg production, with about 32 million egg-laying chickens, trailing Iowa with 53.4 million and ahead of Ohio with 29.7 million.

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